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6 back-to-school supply tips

Featured Image
A young girl looking for school supplies in a store.

Summer’s not even half over and the school supplies are already filling the stores! If you’re new to the annual tradition of school supply shopping, let me offer a few tips. After getting several kids through elementary school, I’ve definitely learned a few ways to save time and money.

Make sure you have your list!
The stores all have supply lists for the local schools, but the store lists don’t always match the school list. Visit your school website and download/print the list. Keep a copy on your phone, you’ll need it. The required pencils, crayons and glue sticks are not just a typo.

Penny Sales
If you don’t get the Sunday paper, be sure and check the online weekly deals for the office supply stores. From mid-July to September, these stores will offer a variety of supplies for a penny or a quarter. The penny items are normally sold out by 10am on Sunday morning. But, the store manager will let you know what days(s) the shelves are restocked. Enlist the help of your family and friends and return to the store on those days. There are often limits on how many items you can purchase, or a minimum purchase price, but the discounted prices on pencils, glue sticks and highlighters are well worth the planning and extra trips.

Shop the entire store
The front of the superstores will be packed with huge displays filled supplies. But those are often the brand name items. If you take the time to walk to the back of store, you may find the generic or store-brand supplies. The few cents saving per item may not sound impressive at first, but when you’re buying for several children, the savings add up.

Avoid the characters
Your kiddos may have a favorite character right now, but avoid the temptation of characters on backpacks, lunchboxes and notebooks. The licensing fees make the items more expensive and in a few months there will be new favorite characters.

Tax-Free weekend
Shopping tax free is great for the expensive purchases on shoes and clothes. But don’t wait until then for the school supplies. The best selections of backpacks and lunchboxes will already be gone and the crowded supply aisles and check out lines will have you question if the five percent savings is worth it.

Buy extras
An extra 3 dozen pencils sounds outrageous after you’ve just purchased the supply list. But you will need pencils, glue sticks and paper for homework. Throughout the year, the teachers will often ask for extra supplies for the classroom. The pencils and glue sticks are much more expensive in the winter than they are in the summer. Go ahead and purchase the extras now.

Good luck with your school supply shopping this summer. I don’t need glue sticks this year, but if you find any good deals on graphing calculators, let me know!